Star Crossed: Aries Rising by Bonnie Hearn Hill
|Star Crossed: Aries Rising by Bonnie Hearn Hill|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Fun and frothy read for teens, especially those interested in astrology.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: March 2010|
|Publisher: Running Press|
Ordinary teen Logan McRae discovers an old book called Fearless Astrology. Can the book help her and her friends get the boys they want, catch the vandals who are shocking their school with pranks, and win her the approval of cantankerous English teacher Mr 'Frankenstein' Franklin? This is a novel written for teens – of course it can.
While Aries Rising isn't likely to win any prizes for originality of storyline, the way it's presented is a genuine breath of fresh air, as it flicks between the main narrative, extracts from Fearless Astrology, notes Logan makes to herself, and drafts of things she's written for class and the school paper. Of her own writings, the column on A Character I'd Like To Take To Lunch is completely gorgeous, and I've reread it three times and passed it round to show several members of my family who were in the same room as I was reading it. The astrology part is rather light, which works to the story's benefit, I think – even if you're rather cynical about astrology, as I am, and as Logan's father is, a lot of the happenings can be chalked up to either coincidence or Logan's increased confidence in herself due to the book.
I really like the way that Logan grows from reading the book, and that the astrology part isn't presented as a 'magic' way for her to get everything to go according to plan. Her character is especially engaging, as is Mr Franklin, who is one of the more believable 'grumpy teachers with a heart of gold' that I've read. (And speaking as a grumpy teacher without the heart of gold, he's my favourite character!)
The other characters are a slightly mixed bag – Franklin's love interest Ms Snider and a pupil called Charles Bellamy are well fleshed-out, as are Logan's parents – an especially impressive achievement as her mother doesn't appear in the book, being absent on a golf tour, but her character still shines through from Logan's descriptions of her. Some of the other pupils at school, especially Logan's friends Chili and Paige, are a little two-dimensional, but that's a minor criticism when so many of the others are done so well.
The dialogue, though, is a definite strong point – the characters actually sound similar to some of the children I teach, which was pleasant to see as I've read some awful speech in the past from 'adult' authors.
I've just realised I haven't mentioned this before, but Bonnie Hearn Hill, the author, is more well-known as the writer of six adult thrillers. This is her first book for teens – although you definitely can't tell - and with two more announced so far in the series, I can see it running and running.
All in all, this is a light but extremely enjoyable read which has definitely got me really interested in reading more of Logan's adventures – especially after reading the excellent sneak preview at the back of the book of Taurus Eyes, the sequel.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
For other teen series fiction, although with a decidedly more obviously unearthly feel, I'd like to recommend Rachel Caine's superb Morganville Vampires books – starting with Glass Houses.
You can read more book reviews or buy Star Crossed: Aries Rising by Bonnie Hearn Hill at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Star Crossed: Aries Rising by Bonnie Hearn Hill at Amazon.com.
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